Have you always been envious of those striped patterns in your neighbor’s lawn? Have you always wanted to know how to cut patterns in your lawn? How to mow stripes in a lawn, how to mow a diamond pattern? Did you think it took special equipment or professional lawn mowing companies to achieve that look? Well, good news! You don’t need either. You can create those eye-catching patterns yourself. The professionals at Custom Lawn & Landscape have put together these tips and tricks for creating mowing patterns in your lawn.
Mowing Stripes Are Easy to Create
It may appear that the stripes you see are created by cutting the grass at different heights or planting different types of seed. That is not the case at all. The stripes are caused simply because the light is reflecting off the blades of grass at different angles. That’s it! Because the grass is bent at a different angle, it reflects the sun differently creating stripes (or whatever pattern you desire).
Lawn Patterns Are All about Reflection
Imagine bending a single piece of grass over on its side. When looked at from one angle, you see the entire flat side of the blade. When looked at from the opposite angle you only see the tip of the blade (a smaller reflective surface). Now multiply that effect by thousands of blades of grass.
When the blades of grass are bent away from you, the grass appears lighter in color because the light is reflecting off of the wide part of the blade. When the blades of grass are bent towards you, the grass appears darker because you are looking more of the tips of the blades and the shadows under the grass.
If you look at it from different directions, those light and dark stripes will look the opposite. Of course, there are ways to enhance the patterns as well as many patterns to try. Read on for more details.
Tips for the Best Looking Mowing Patterns
While it’s not difficult to mow patterns in your lawn, it helps to know a few tricks that will enhance those patterns and make your yard look sharp.
1. Mow Your Grass Taller
The trick to creating darker lawn stripes is to mow the grass at a taller height. This gives the blades more flexibility to bend. Short blades will pop right back upright. Even a small amount can make a noticeable difference. Going from 2″ to 2.5″ or from 3 ” to 3.5″ can make a difference in the lawn stripe pattern intensity, plus, it reduces how often you should mow your lawn.
2. Use Hardscape Features as Your Guide
Use a sidewalk, driveway or other hardscape in your yard as a guide to help keep your lawn mowing lines straight.
3. Get a Lawn Roller
The easiest way to intensify the stripe is to bend the grass farther. The best way to do that is to physically contact it with a roller and press it to the ground. You can use a striping kit for your mower or a roller. You can buy a striping kit online or find instructions on how to build one yourself. Check out this video “Like a Boss Lawn Striper” for the ultimate in lawn mowing patterns techniques.
4. Cool Season Grasses Are Best
Certain breeds of grass will bend easier and can provide a better stripe pattern. Cool season grasses, like we have here in Kansas City, are the species that will yield the best patterns. Warm season grasses (found in the southern regions of the United States) are more rigid and harder to bend.
5. The Position of the Sun Will Affect the Look of the Pattern
Lawn striping patterns may seem more intense at various times of the day and in different light levels. When the sun is behind you, you will see a more intense stripe pattern.
Related Read: 10 Expert Mowing Tips to Save You Time & Money
Benefits of Creating Mowing Patterns
Believe it or not, besides giving you the most awesome looking yard on the block, there are actually benefits to creating mowing patterns in your lawn.
1. Minimizes Damage to Lawn
If you always use the exact same pattern every time you mow, repetitive tire tracks can compact grass reducing airflow and encouraging disease. It can even start to damage certain areas of the grass. This can cause ugly dead spots and invite weeds to grow in those spots.
Switching up your grass cutting patterns minimizes damage done by the mower tires and keeps the grass from becoming compacted, allowing plenty of airflow and keeping the grass growing its best.
2. Makes for a Healthier Lawn
Another benefit is that mowing your grass a little higher will actually make it healthier. When more than one-third of the leaf blade is removed, there is less leaf area to absorb sunlight needed to perform photosynthesis to produce food. Consequently, the plant produces less food, resulting in a weaker plant that’s susceptible to disease and insect damage.
Cutting more than one-third of the grass plant not only weakens the plant, it inhibits the growth of the roots, creating a small, shallow root system which cannot support the plant in times of drought. Grass that is allowed to grow tall will have strong, large root system below ground that can better withstand dry periods.
3. Hides Imperfections in Your Lawn
And, as an added bonus, cutting patterns in the grass can help hide the few small imperfections in your lawn. Everyone gets a localized dry spot or a small area of disease at some point, having nice stripes has been helping seemingly perfect golf courses give the illusion of the perfect lawn for years.
Lawn striping is an excellent way to set your lawns apart from the neighbors’ lawns and be the envy of the entire neighborhood. Now that you know the secrets, get out there and get striping…or diamonding…or swirling…or zigzagging!